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Skimmers, then more skimmers.

by Lanny McDowell on August 8, 2010

DSCN6341The TTOR shorebird techs had been waiting to see what would hatch from under the Black Skimmer pair out at Norton Point at Katama Bay inside the southeast corner of Martha’s Vineyard.  The birds had laid one egg, annexed two Least Tern eggs into their nest and laid a second of their own.  According to observers, one or two of the tern eggs hatched but did not make it for long.  One of the skimmer eggs hatched into a healthy chick, which we saw today.  We were told a second pair had arrived and laid eggs – it turned out to be three of them.  Four of us, including Martin, the Swedish Phd candidate taking a three week intensive on molecular biology over in Woods Hole at the Marine Biology Lab, then discovered a third pair of skimmers in residence.   All very exciting.  The skimmers are incredible on the wing!

The beginning:


Three adults are a little tight, but not so bad:




The casual ease of flight:



Albatross wannabe:



This is for the guys who went out with me today:


Best shot – a trio of grace on the wing:


Birds are cool!  Lanny

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Martha’s Vineyard, morning birding at Katama

by Lanny McDowell on June 20, 2009


The beach drive out to Norton Point on the Vineyard’s south shore is only open for a portion of its length.  The rest is closed because Oystercatchers, Piping Plovers and Least Terns have young to feed.  And the beach should be closed.  One of the Trustees of Reservations‘ “shorebird technicians” was headed out to make her protective rounds and told me there are something like 681 Least Tern pairs in the colony near the tidal cut into Katama Bay.  That is a really nice big number of Least Terns, maybe a quarter of the state’s nesting pairs, according to the tech.  We wish them all the luck they will need to fledge some youngsters.  The odds are stacked against, but we can hope.  We can resist recreational vehicles on the beach at the wrong time of the year.  We can support the effort.  [click to continue...]